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-- justice this, justice that. how do offer a competing vision and the arab world that can stand up against that? as we need to approach the issue philosophically. there is very little we can do except hopefully protect the interest that we currently have in the region. for the next 30 or 40 years, how you create genuine liberals who may someday run the country -- the growth in mexico. mexico was a backer, authoritarian place with a loser president -- backwards, authoritarian place with a loser president. where did they come from? the have a ph.d. from the university of chicago. that is how it happened. find those 10 people, educate them, maybe some good of good
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will come 20 years down the road. >> you mentioned the justice component of many of these islamist parties. this is a response today corruption of these u.s.- sponsored regimes. -- to the corruption of these u.s.-sponsored regimes. for the record, i am against corruption. >> it goes back to the point at bottom made in my remarks that islamists did not win, the non- islamists lost. they lose by screwing up the delivery of services, by being so corrupt, by being ossified. islamists are there, waiting to
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take advantage of whatever opportunity, through violence or nonviolence. we did not even discuss their relationship with violence and nonviolence, which is a very important issue. they are there like vultures to reap the benefits, the carrion of these regimes. we can build, and we can help them, help the alternatives build better alternatives. >> question in the far corner over there. >> i am with the center for national policy. thank you for the debate. my point here is that there's been a suggestion that once islamists come to power, they will not give up power. i hear going to have some sort of a renewed dictatorship in the middle east.
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gutting egypt over the past few weeks, -- but in egypt over the past few weeks, you have a politicized group of people who are not going to take that. i agree with one of the previous question is, in some respects this is quite healthy. you are going to have these debates and divisions within the arab world or the muslim world, and people are not going to except dictatorships like they had in the past -- accept dictatorships like they had in the past. >> there are these multiple sensors of power that did not exist under mubarak. they're competing. this is an early stage of the game. as rob cited the last presidential election results, there is this desire for -- the task here in washington, it will
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be difficult to convince the u.s. government to change the way it has done business over the last 30 years -- some of that is necessary. the task is, how do you play the right role of engaging here? it is not naively giving money to liberal groups and not having a strategy. i believe this is a significant task inside egypt. it is an encouraging sign -- this is my prediction, it is going to force islamist political parties, at least elements of it to change their ideology. if the system remains open, if there is a big debate, i did not see it going backwards in terms of the diversity in egypt. it is hard for me to imagine that going backwards. >> we're going to move toward closing remarks. we will go in reverse order. bret you can have your two
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minutes. >> 1979, an influential article was written, dictatorships and double standards. he argued -- in a position of find myself increasingly attracted to -- the united states is better served secular authoritarian regimes against totalitarian alternatives. totalitarian alternatives, then as now, often becomes a power by means of democratic or populist movements. this because they come to power that way does not mean to govern that way. i think that is a distinction worth keeping alive in our minds today. i would love to imagine that now the political space -- all these
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terms, only in washington -- baloney. jim woolsey said it right the first time. you are now entering the terrorist stage. we are now seeing the proces s of totalitarianism coming into too many middle eastern countries. it is important to recognize that for what it is. it is important to see who these guys are. they come in a rainbow variety of shades of islamists -- they do not. it is black, gray, or very dark blue. i would urge people to think about -- the second treatise of
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government. markey is looking better and better in the middle east. if there is one country -- monarchy is looking better and better in the middle east. if there is one country that has figured it out, it is morocco. >> my basic argument for the proposition on our side of the debate is an argument for reality. open your eyes and seeing where we are today, two years into these uprisings and changes. in region of the world just narrowly focused on the middle east, which has about 20 countries, the vaccine political change in four of them. -- you have seen political change in four of them.
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we're at the start of a process. our response from washington has been very philosophical and intellectual, but not very operational. this process is moving forward. when you look at the demographic, social, economic pressures that these societies face -- as some of these countries, political islamist forces will come to power. politics is becoming much more complicated in the middle east. what worries me the most in washington is that we ourselves do not have a functional political discourse about our own issues, let alone how do we respond in clear, strategic ways to these events in the region. i think the region is in for a long. of time of change the central or eastern europe -- long period of
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time of change than central or eastern europe faced. the main argument is, it is upon us, and more change is coming. some of that will include islamist forces and the need to figure out how to best use our power to shape and influence their transition. >> on to rob. >> a couple of closing points. first, generally we tend to project exceed a certain bigotry of low expectations on muslims in the arab cultural world.
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those of us who are various religious faiths here know the extent to which we practice our faith is and how faithful we are to this or that religious prescription. we know that we fall pretty short, but we think, muslims all pray five times a day, they never touched a scotch. they all do every commandment in islam. and they submit to the will of their local imam, et cetera. it does not work that way. moslem practice in general is not so different than general practice here. muslims want the political the way that we want to be political. let us not fall prey to the bigotry of low expectations that they cannot make reasonable choices about their own political organization, and that therefore, if you fall prey to that, you will accept the
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proposition that islamism, essential, unavoidable, inevitable -- malarkey. it is not. what in politics is unavoidable and inevitable? it is not the case. it is certainly not essential if we want to defeat the great ideology, that great threat, it is certainly not essential that we embrace the people who have that ideology. what does that mean about us? it means that we are vanquished cowards in the face of that ideology. it is not essential. let us try to defeat it. peacefully, if possible, through the means that we know, the ones we have used in the past against other ideologies. and we know it works. and we can find men and women in
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this part of the world to be our partners to do this. >> reuel. >> i thought rob was making my arguments for me until the end. >> class strongly recommend you read jeane kirkpatrick'. -- i strongly recommend that you read gene kirkpatrick. the thought that democracy is a cancer, perhaps a number one thing they fear -- in iran, where they have a fraudulent democratic system, the process of actually going out to vote
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crated the earthquake in 1997 and created even greater earthquakes in 2009. there is not a single cleric in iran, with one exception, who will argue against democracy now. i do not have enough time here to explain, to name all the individuals who are the diehard revolutionaries who have fallen away because of the practices of the theocracy. we do not know what the evolution will be under a democratic system as opposed to a dictatorship. under a dictatorship we have seen a complete falling away of the intellectual class towards a democratic ethic. if there had been a free election in 2009, we would not have to worry about iran today.
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>> there was not a free election. >> even not having a free election, you had enormous evolution occur among people who were at one time diehard revolutionaries. i suggested evolution will be greater under a democratic system when you have as much voting as we have had in iran. >> we have to leave it there. please give a round of applause to our panelists. [applause] >> this morning on "washington journal," we look at recent developments on the ground in syria. host: thanks for being with us.
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have we turned a corner with regards to the situation in syria? caller: it seems to me it is an important juncture, perhaps a crossroads. turning a corner might be going a bit far. president assad still has substantial military capabilities, quite a bit of support. he still has control of the capital. it is a little bit hard to say. clearly the risk and an upswing on the rebel side. -- there has been an upswing on the rebel side. i think there is momentum in favor of the rebels, but this still seems to be a conflict that can go on for a long time. host: if the regime fails, it president assad is forced out,
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who takes his place? caller: i think that is a major concern on all fronts. there is a great fear there could be anarchy and chaos. people in syria are well aware of what happened in neighboring iraq. there is a large number of people who are not necessarily tied to the government but are extremely frightened that there could be a bloodletting that was seen in neighboring iraq. host: your in beirut. you are obviously not allowed to travel easily in and out of syria. does a sense of what it is like in that country. -- give us a sense of what it is like in that country. caller: different places have a
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different feeling. it is almost hard to describe. it is rather apocalyptic right now. it is to have a huge tourist industry. now much of it is in wreckage. there are shells coming in. there is still food, but people are scrambling for food. there is a great deal of uncertainty, a lot of anger in the rubble occupied zones -- rebel occupied zones. there is anger at the rebels. in damascus, there is a great sense of dread. people herar shelling and gunfire every night. the suburbs are battle zones. it is a city that has a big
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middle class that was a thriving commercial hub, and people do not know what is going to happen. physically, do a spot check points over the place. this used to be one of the most secure capitals of the middle east. host: where is president assad at the moment? caller: we seldom see him. occasionally he will make a public appearance. by and large, i think he is invisible. he is not highly visible for someone who was made such a determined effort to stay in power, despite what is happened to his country. occasionally he will give an interview to the foreign press or even the national press. he is more visible in posters at this point. host: the "l.a. times" bureau
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chief joining us here in washington. you can'm wondering if provide an update on what is happening in tripoli from your vantage point. caller: i just spent a couple of days up there. it is the second set of web and on. -- city of lebanon. sunni muslims car the prevalent population and prevalent rebel group. there's been periodic combat there between sunni gunmen and people who are part of the sect. the resident, a think, 14 or 15 people killed. -- there has been, i think, 14
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or 15 people killed. the has been battles up there. it feels like a mirror image of syria right now. host: are u.s. intelligence officials or military leaders talking to these circassian rebel groups? is there a line of communication-- syrian rebel groups? is there a line of communication with these potential leaders? caller: it is a little bit unclear who is a moderate. the range of fighters goes from very conservative islamic to groups that are like al qaeda. it is not clear who exactly the americans are trying to deal with. they want to deal with
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defectors. there are defectors coming from the secular military. once you're in the country, it feels clear these defectors do not have much power, and the rebels are largely fragmented and respond to local commanders who tend to be from their towns and neighborhoods. i think americans are trying to talk to people who have some influence over the rebels, with a view as moderate -- who they view as moderate, but it is a difficult task given the fragmented nature. host: patrick mcdonnell joining us from skype. it was a sense of where you are in beirut. caller: i'm embarrassed. beirut.'m in host: thank you very much. >> coming of today,
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"newsmakers" with peter shumlin, colo by former vice presidential candidate and republican congressman paul ryan and senator marco rubio late. >> i think people still love discovery. the bill to define surprises. -- ability fo dito find surpris. i do not think i could've ever imagined choosing. if you said, mike, i want you to choose honey boo boo -- or certain food channel networks, i do not think if i had to predetermine my preference i
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would have ever pick them. but the ability to stumble on a more hear people talking about them and then let me go into an environment and go doubling around and that, find out that i sort of like honey boo boo, that is a huge part of the american television experience and it gets sold short when you get techno is t-- ecstatic. a lot of americans love the enjoyment of escaping passivity and be able to roam around the tv jungle of finding things it did not know were there. >> michael powell on the future of television, monday night at 8:00 eastern on "the communicators." >> tomorrow, join us for reform and how education and innovation can benefit the u.s. economy. speakers include gene sperling, harvard university president,
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and former congresswoman and portugal vice-president, susan molinari. - google vice-president, susan molinari. from the american enterprise institute, join us live, 5:30 p.m. eastern also here on c- span. president obama troubles monday to an auto plant in michigan to merge congress to extend tax breaks for 998% of americans.

News Politics and Public Affairs
CSPAN December 9, 2012 5:35pm-6:00pm EST


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